As the days grow short, some faces grow long. But not mine. Every autumn, when the wind turns cold and darkness comes early, I am suddenly happy. It’s time to start making soup again. ~Leslie Newman
Soup weather has arrived! The air is crisp, full of the smell of burning leaves and carrying a hint of cool. The days are warmer, if the sun comes out. But it is the kind of weather that makes me long for a bowl of good homemade soup.
Problem is, I’m not a good soup maker! Cookies and desserts? You bet. Main dishes? I can make some pretty decent choices. Salads? I’ve got some go-to recipes that are good. But soups? Mine never turn out the way I expect. Or want.
Take the other day. I found a recipe online for a soup that sounded absolutely marvelous. Rustic Fall Vegetable Soup, replete with winter squash, sweet potato, and other yummy flavors. It was even in the easy category! I picked up the ingredients I didn’t have on a trip to the grocery store and set out to make this recipe. Did it work? Not really. The squash and sweet potato never softened! I even simmered it an extra 25 minutes, and those two vegetables were still crunchy. It has now sat in the fridge for three days. Guess what? Still crunchy! What the heck?? It said *easy*? I should be able to handle the easy ones, yes? Yes!
But I should say that something like this happens whenever I attempt soups or stews. The consistency is never that of what you find in a restaurant or a friend’s kitchen. My stews are too soupy, and my soups are too…. something. I love cheese soups, but I can’t make one for anything! I’ve tried stovetop and crockpot – still no luck. Something — taste, texture, consistency — is always not quite right. One of my husband’s favorite things to eat is a good soup or stew. Can I make one? Never!
So to all my friends who are soup-masters out there…. what’s your secret? How do you make a good soup or stew?